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University of Strathclyde Disability Equality Scheme

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									      University of Strathclyde Disability Equality Scheme


                      The Annual Report, December 2008

The University of Strathclyde has continued to make progress over the past
year to meet the general and specific duties associated with the public sector
duty to promote disability equality. The following is a summary of progress,
but any reader who would like to have greater detail is invited to contact the
Deputy Principal with responsibility for disability, Professor Anne Hughes,
a.a.hughes@strath.ac.uk



Contents
University of Strathclyde Disability Equality Scheme ........................................ 1
The Annual Report, December 2008 ................................................................. 1
Positive Promotion of Disability Equality – planned initiatives and new
initiatives.............................................................................................................. 2
The Action Plan (Students)................................................................................. 3
   Disabled students involved in the preparation of the DES asked us to…..... 3
   As well as the items noted under Positive Promotion of Disability Equality
   above, this is what we have done…. .............................................................. 3
   This is what we plan to do in 2008 - 2009… .................................................. 4
The Action Plan (Staff)........................................................................................ 6
   We set out to…….. .......................................................................................... 6
   This is what we have done…. ......................................................................... 6
   This is what we plan to do in 2008 - 2009…. ................................................. 7
The Action Plan (Estates) ................................................................................... 8
   IMPROVING AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE. ........................................ 8
   REMOVE PHYSICAL BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION OR
   SERVICE PROVISION ................................................................................... 8
   IMPROVE THE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES AND FACILITIES
   SUPERVISED OR ORGANISED BY ESTATES MANAGEMENT ................ 9
Information Gathering ....................................................................................... 11
   See Appendix A............................................................................................. 11




                                                                                                                         1
Positive Promotion of Disability Equality – planned
initiatives and new initiatives.

In addition to the initiatives which have been undertaken in fulfilment of the
University‟s DES Action Plan, some significant projects are worthy of specific
mention, aimed as they are at promoting greater disability equality:

   1. Learning Services operates a text transcription and subtitling service to
      provide accessible versions of video and audio resources for disabled
      students. In most cases transcriptions and subtitled versions are
      produced within one working day. This is a well used service that is
      available to any University department.

   2. The Faculty of Education provides online video recordings of approx
      160 Post Graduate Diploma in Education lectures. Access to Disability
      Resource Development Funding (DRDF) has allowed all recordings to
      be supported by transcriptions and subtitles.

   3. Three members of staff in Learning Services have undertaken
      advanced training in the configuration and testing of Induction Loop
      systems. This has allowed improvements in the effectiveness of
      systems in centrally managed teaching spaces.

   4. The Disability Service is currently in the process of preparing Guidance
      to Mentors of Students with Asperger‟s Syndrome, in collaboration with
      the National Autistic Society.

   5. Mental Health has continued to receive particular attention in the
      implementation of the DES. Staff development sessions, delivered
      collaboratively by Student Advisory and Counselling Service and the
      Disability Service, were attended by most Departmental Disability
      Contacts; the University is engaged in a collaborative West of Scotland
      University and NHS Project to improve provision for students who are
      mentally unwell.

   6. With a view to moving towards a more integrated approach to
      Equalities in the University, the Disability Advisory Group has been
      replaced by the Student Disability and Equality Advisory Group,
      convened by Deputy Principal, Professor Anne Hughes.

   7. In an effort to embed thinking about disabled students within standard
      University practices, from 2007/08 the Internal Audit Service (IAS) has
      included a review of Disability within its departmental internal audits.
      The overall objective of the IAS review in this area is to assess
      departmental awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act, the
      University‟s Disability Equality Scheme and Action Plan and to assess
      departmental procedures, which help ensure that the University Goal of




                                                                                 2
       full and equal participation of disabled people in all aspects of
       University life is met.




The Action Plan (Students)

Disabled students involved in the preparation of the DES asked us to….


Ensure that disabled students‟ needs are met by academic staff
Improve the accessibility of teaching and assessments for disabled students
Promote the profile of Departmental Disability Contacts and to achieve
effective monitoring by DDCs of departmental arrangements for disabled
students
Foster a climate in which disabled students are more likely to disclose their
disability
Reduce the experience of stigma which attaches to students with mental
health difficulties.



As well as the items noted under Positive Promotion of Disability
Equality above, this is what we have done….

      Data on staff usage of the system (Pegasus) for informing academic
       staff about what disabled students need in classroom teaching and
       exams or assessments continues to be collected. (See Information
       Gathering section below.) It is supplemented by students‟ perspectives
       from questionnaires about how their needs are met by academic staff,
       and by annual Departmental Disability Contacts‟ reports on their
       departmental system for ensuring that teaching staff receive the
       information they need. One Department has introduced a compliance
       form which all staff are asked to sign to confirm that they have checked
       Pegasus for the relevant information and are able to make the
       adjustments recommended.

      All Departmental Disability Contacts (DDCs) are asked to report
       annually to the Deputy Principal on how they
           o ensure that disabled students‟ needs are met by academic staff;
           o are working to improve the accessibility of teaching and
              assessment for disabled students;
           o promote the profile of the DDC and achieve effective monitoring
              of arrangements for disabled students;
           o foster a climate in which disabled students are more likely to
              disclose their disability;




                                                                                3
          o reduce the experience of stigma which attaches to students with
            mental health difficulties.

      Academic Departmental reviews of accessibility of teaching and
       assessment for disabled students are well under way. Key to
       academic departmental activity are: their involvement of disabled
       students; involvement of all academic staff according to their teaching
       roles; improvements to methods of obtaining feedback from disabled
       students.
      Department quote: “The department has made some changes to its
       methods for gathering feedback from students about classes to give
       ALL students the opportunity to react to the accessibility of teaching
       and assessment.”

      Teachability is our method of bringing the meaning and importance of
       „impact assessment‟ to the awareness of and use by all academic
       departments and colleagues. Promoting academic colleagues‟
       improvement of that impact as it affects disabled students is our
       objective.

      Annual reporting from and regular staff development for Departmental
       Disability Contacts (DDC) have helped to disseminate ways of
       promoting the role of the DDC.

      See under The Action Plan (Estates) for further details on Estates
       Impact Assessments. The work is mentioned here as exemplary by
       involving disabled students in initiatives which affect them, namely
       major new building projects. Further, the student panel which advises
       Estates includes input on building design and mental health,
       underlining the message that features of building design can be more
       or less accessible to students who are mentally unwell as well as those
       who have physical impairments.


This is what we plan to do in 2008 - 2009…

      Academic Departmental Teachability reviews will be completed by all
       academic departments. The Disability Impact Assessment reports
       generated will be used as the basis for future Scheme and Action
       Planning.

      The Student Disability and Equality Advisory Group will continue to
       monitor and direct the implementation of the Scheme and ensure that
       the achievement of longer term objectives is kept under review.

      Arrangements for students who are mentally unwell will continue to be
       an area for priority attention within the University and through the
       University‟s partnership work with the NHS.




                                                                                 4
   The University‟s Internal Audit Programme which details the specific
    testing to be performed in this area will be reviewed via discussions
    between the Head of Internal Audit and the Head of Disability Services,
    and audit findings will be analysed.




                                                                          5
The Action Plan (Staff)

We set out to……..

     Formally gain accreditation as a “Positive about Disabled People”
      employer and implement the 5 commitments under the scheme

     Encourage staff to update their disability status on HRIS in relation to
      themselves

     Provide newly-established Faculty facing HR Teams with management
      information on disabled staff within their areas to ensure appropriate
      help and support is provided

     Gather relevant data on applications from disabled people and publish
      these in an annual Equality in Employment report from year 2

     Consider the possibility of the production of staff information
      specifically for disabled staff

     Consider the possibility of Disability Equality training for University staff

     Continue to promote the Disability Equality Scheme amongst staff and
      make effective use of Occupational Health services for disabled
      employees or employees who become disabled


This is what we have done….

     Completed a University-wide consultation on the “Two Ticks” Positive
      about Disabled People Scheme and worked closely with Job Centre
      Plus putting together and submitting our application for accreditation to
      the Scheme

     Gained accreditation as a Positive about Disabled People employer
      and will have implemented the Scheme by the end of 2008. This has
      involved changes to recruitment documentation, the University website
      and the HR database

     Completed a series of briefing sessions within Faculties about the
      implementation and practical implications of the Scheme, with further
      sessions for CAS areas to be completed by the end of 2008

     Set up a process to ensure that all current staff who have disclosed a
      disability are contacted by their Head of Department to arrange a one
      to one meeting to discuss their progress and development on an
      annual basis


                                                                                  6
      Added an additional field to the HRIS system which enables staff to
       update their disability status. Any changes made are now flagged up
       to the appropriate HR Adviser to acknowledge the change made

      Introduced a Sickness Absence Policy which sets out the University‟s
       commitment to work with staff who are or become disabled and to
       make reasonable adjustments to support them at work

      The Occupational Health Unit and Employee Counselling Service
       continue to be publicised widely and the Sickness Absence Policy
       includes additional guidance on the OH Unit and the process for
       making referrals for both managers and staff. HR continue to work
       closely with OH seeking appropriate advice on specific cases

      Work has continued to develop a University-wide process for Equality
       Impact Assessment (including assessing the impact of policies,
       procedures, criteria and practices on disabled people). A screening
       exercise has been completed which assessed 344 PPPCs and these
       have been ranked and prioritised for full Equality Impact Assessment.


This is what we plan to do in 2008 - 2009….

      Ensure that the Two Ticks Scheme is implemented throughout the
       University and monitor its effectiveness in encouraging recruitment
       applications from disabled people by gathering appropriate data

      Continue work to develop an effective process for Impact Assessment,
       supported by appropriate training and with a programme/timetable for
       assessments to be completed over a three year cycle

      Consider the provision of equality training (including disability
       awareness) to staff who do not have access to a computer

      Consider the possibility of the production of staff information
       specifically for disabled staff (in consultation with disabled staff)

      Continue to promote the Disability Equality Scheme amongst staff and
       make effective use of Occupational Health services for disabled
       employees or employees who become disabled




                                                                               7
The Action Plan (Estates)
IMPROVING AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE.

Estates Management staff and external consultants are all aware of the
Disability Equality Duty and the Action Plan through briefing for projects and
on-going guidance throughout the projects. This has included an Impact
Assessment Forum for all the major projects at design stage. The most recent
one took place in October, organised by Estates Management staff, with
presentations by consultants to an invited group of Disabled students and the
Disability Service. The students were paid for their time out of the project
budgets and their feedback has been reviewed and incorporated into the
designs where possible. A follow up session is planned in January to advis e
the students of the outcomes. This has proved to be an invaluable training
and awareness forum as well as providing excellent advice to improve the
projects for all. These forums are part of the project management procedures.


REMOVE PHYSICAL BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION OR
SERVICE PROVISION

Anticipatory Works

The rolling programme for these has continued throughout the year with the
following works completed;

      Improvements to approach and lift upgrades to all 14 priority A
       buildings.
      Full DDA works from audit were implemented in the Curran
       Andersonian Library, NCEPTO, Hotel School, Architecture, Graham
       Hills and Student Union buildings.

Following on from this during 2009 these works will be complete;

      Strathclyde Business School in January
      Wolfson Centre, Livingstone Tower (Phase 2), Royal College and
       Barony by the summer
      Stenhouse by the end of the year as part of a reconfiguration and
       refurbishment of the building

The last Priority A DDA project in the James Weir Building will be completed
in phases as part of a major refurbishment of that building during the next
couple of years.

Priority C-D buildings and currently being reviewed and a plan will be
presented to the University‟s Property and Space Management Group in
January 2009.




                                                                               8
Needs Arising Works

Due to the implementation of the rolling programme of DDA works as
described above and works completed in previous years there has been a
noticeable reduction in the requirement for these over the past year.

Pedestrian Transfer Works

These were completed in the early part of the calendar year.

External Way finding Signage

By the end of 2008 the city centre campus will have been completely resigned
externally. This has included new building, entrance, directional and map
signs. The thorough process involved in carefully considering their design and
location is paying dividends already in the much improved way finding.

Likewise the University has embarked on a programme to completely resign
the campus internally by a target date of December 2009.


IMPROVE THE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES AND FACILITIES
SUPERVISED OR ORGANISED BY ESTATES MANAGEMENT

Room Bookings Process

A database of information on accessibility of central pool teaching rooms and
adjoining facilities has been created. At present this can be used as a manual
check for Estates Management staff on suitability of rooms. Early in the New
Year this will be available to all staff and students on line. This is temporary
measure until the process will be automated with a new Central Timetabling
system from 2010/11 onwards. The University Management Committee
approved the procurement of this system in November.

Problem Notification

A system is in place where the Estates Management‟s Help Desk e-mails
disabled students and the disability service when problems occur. This could
be a lift breakdown or when building works will prevent a particular entrance,
corridor, lift being used. In some cases phone messages are also made.

Campus Map

It is proposed that the campus map on the external signs will be available on
line early in 2009 which shows the accessible entrances and will be linked to
the building access statements.




                                                                                 9
Impact Assessment

The results of the University-wide screening exercise (undertaken in summer
of 2007) have been analysed and have resulted in 59 practices, provisions,
policies and criteria (PPPCs) being ranked as having a high impact.
Guidance documents, appropriate forms and supporting training materials are
being developed for launch in early 2009. A programme for the systematic
completion of high impact PPPCs will be submitted to the Equality and
Diversity Committee for approval in January 2009.

The impact assessment of teaching and assessment through the Teachability
Project is well underway. All academic departments in the University have
committed to a six month period of review of accessibility of teaching and
assessment. Many reviews are already complete, issuing in reports which
describe the review process, the involvement of all teaching staff in the
process and the involvement of disabled students who have helped to identify
problem areas associated with the Department‟s teaching and assessment.
The aim of the work is to assist academic staff to consider the impact of how
they teach on disabled students, so that they can plan and prepare future
teaching in ways that have a positive impact on future disabled students.

Estates Management has embedded the Impact Assessment forum described
above as a key element in project management procedures. (See above, The
Action Plan (Estates).




                                                                           10
Information Gathering

See Appendix A




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